Population up by 100 thousand for third year in a row

© Hollandse Hoogte
The population of the Netherlands grew by an estimated 104 thousand people in 2018. The growth rate was similar to that in the past two years. Just as in 2016 and 2017, growth was mainly due to migration. The Netherlands currently has nearly 17.3 million inhabitants, according to the latest estimates by Statistics Netherlands (CBS).

Population dynamics, 2018* + 104,000 net population growth 153,000 emigration 241,000 immigration 153,000 deaths + 16,000 natural growth + 88,000 net migration 168,000 births
* Estimate

Although not all data over 2018 have been processed, CBS projects that 88 thousand more people settled in the Netherlands than left the country. This number is slightly higher than the year before. In addition, births exceeded deaths by 16 thousand, resulting in a lower natural population growth compared to 2017. The contribution of births minus deaths to total population growth has now fallen to 15 percent, versus 20 percent last year.

Population dynamics (x 1,000)
Categories1Population growthNatural growthMigration balance
200880.449.525.7
200989.250.734.5
201080.848.333.1
201174.544.329.8
201249.235.113.9
201349.730.119.1
201471.43635.1
201578.423.455.1
2016102.423.579.2
201799.619.680.7
2018*104.115.988.2
* estimate

Immigration up again

The number of immigrants registering in the Netherlands has seen an upward trend since 2005. A year-on-year increase was also seen in 2018: an estimated 241 thousand people settled in the country, as against 235 thousand in 2017. In 2015 and 2016, the conflict in Syria in particular caused a larger stream of immigrants. This influx has already dropped, but more other groups of asylum migrants came to the Netherlands, especially from European countries.

Immigration and emigration per year (x 1,000)
Categories1ImmigrationEmigration
2008143.5-117.8
2009146.4-111.9
2010154.4-121.4
2011163-133.2
2012158.4-144.5
2013164.8-145.7
2014182.9-147.9
2015204.6-149.5
2016230.7-151.5
2017235-154.3
2018*241.4-153.3
* estimate

Some immigrants leave again after a shorter or longer period of time, and there is a substantial group of native Dutch people who move away from the Netherlands. In 2018, an estimated 153 thousand people left the country, which resulted in 88 thousand arrivals, on balance. The highest migration balance was again seen among people with a Polish background (9 thousand up to and including November), followed by migrants with an Indian background (nearly 6 thousand) and people from countries of the former Soviet Union. The Netherlands also saw more people with a Syrian background coming than leaving (almost 5 thousand).

Migration balance by migration background (x 1,000)
Categories12017 (January to November)2018 (January to November)*
Europe (excl. Netherlands)3745.4
Asia29.521.2
Americas9.112.4
Africa6.19.5
Oceania0.40.5
Netherlands-2.6-2.3
* provisional figures

Birth rate further down

The number of live births has declined since 2010. For several years, it has been around 170 thousand per year, which is similar to the number in the mid-1980s. The decrease is seen among young women in particular. The average age of women at the birth of their first child has risen further in recent years and the average number of children born has dropped. In 2010, the average number of children per woman was still 1.8, versus only 1.6 in 2018 as it stands now.

Births and deaths (x 1,000)
Categories1Live birthsDeaths
2008184.6135.1
2009184.9134.2
2010184.4136.1
2011180.1135.7
2012176140.8
2013171.3141.2
2014175.2139.2
2015170.5147.1
2016172.5149
2017169.8150.2
2018*168.4152.5
* estimate

Higher mortality in Q1

The low birth rate was accompanied by a relatively high mortality rate. In Q1 2018, relatively many deaths were recorded which led to a negative natural population growth. There were two heatwaves in the year 2018 but they did not result in a much higher mortality rate. Only among people aged 80 years and over, more deaths were recorded than during an average week in summer.

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